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HUMANITY: Art & Culture Archives

Recently in HUMANITY: Art & Culture Category

June 14, 2011

A Thanks to Winds Readers: Playing for Change

By Joe Katzman at 20:45

This is just great, and sums up so many things - including, most especially, my gratitude. Plus, I just thought y'all might like to understand the lyrics for once. :-)

As you might expect, there's more to this video than meets the eye. More music, and more of a story...

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  • annienomad: Incredible performances. Wonderful project:) The Tide - Protest/Solidarity Song "" read more
  • annienomad: Incredible performers. Wonderful project:) The Tide - Protest/Solidarity Song "The read more
  • PD Shaw: Sweet!!! read more

January 25, 2011

'Restrepo' Nominated

By Armed Liberal at 17:19

'Restrepo' was just nominated by the Academy for Best Full-Length Documentary. I loved it; TG hasn't felt brave enbough to see it yet. I'll take her to a screening.

You can rent it or stream it from Netflix, and I'm sure other video rentals. See it, please.

It's certainly a hard watch for a military parent; and a hard watch for almost anyone. But it's amazing, and the men who it depicts (including MOH winner SSG Giunta) so honestly deserve no less.

Even though the Academy is one of my clients, I seriously didn't know until this morning when they made the announcements.

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  • alchemist: Thanks for reminding me that it was up, I thought read more
  • alchemist: I watched Frontline's "The wounded platoon" today, I'll try to read more
  • The Kitchen Dispatch: Yup, it's been a morning of lots of emails and read more

July 16, 2010

The Job's Not Over...

By Armed Liberal at 06:35

...'till the paperwork's done.

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May 22, 2010

Michael Caine

By Armed Liberal at 16:32

Here's a great interview (in both senses of the word - good interviewing and fascinating replies) with Michael Caine, talking about his UK vigilante film 'Harry Brown.' (h/t Ed Driscoll blogging for Insty)

My favorite line?
Yeah, I did. I think we should all vote like that [turning out the incumbent party after two or three terms]. Otherwise we're just the slaves of any political party. We should vote for the welfare of the country, not for the welfare of the party.
That's a tagline if I've ever heard one...

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  • Glen Wishard: A British Death Wish? There might be hope for the read more

May 20, 2010

Depictions of Mohammed

By Porphyrogenitus at 16:58
I posted this over at my own blog first and was planning on leaving at most a link to it here, but in solidarity with AL I'll post the whole thing.
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April 1, 2010

Oktapodi: The Short

By Joe Katzman at 22:31

Wow, a French film - well, short really, but you get the idea - that I like. I'd say "who knew?" But if you've ever seen Brotherhood of the Wolf, you'll know that some French films are good:

This one won a bunch of deserved awards, and even has its own web site.

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January 20, 2010

Is It Bada**ery? Or Bada**itude? And It Doesn't Matter, Because You'll Cry Anyway.

By Armed Liberal at 01:11

We saw two films in the last two days, and they couldn't have been more different - although both were just flat excellent.

'Book of Eli' needs no introduction. But we also saw (via streaming Netflix) 'The Way We Get By,' a brilliant documentary about...well about this:

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  • Glen Wishard: The last time I read Canticle was with my 1980 read more
  • Armed Liberal: "Canticle" is dated, but really, really good...just don't read it read more
  • Alchemist: Hmmph. I guess I'll make an effort. But time is read more

October 6, 2009

Literature and The Moral Imagination

By Joe Katzman at 02:53

From Russell Kirk's 1981 essay "The Moral Imagination."

"Every major form of literary art has taken for its deeper themes the norms of human nature. What Eliot calls "the permanent things" - the norms, the standards - have been the concern of the poet ever since the time of Job, or ever since Homer: "the blind man who sees," sang of the wars of the gods with men. Until very recent years, men took it for granted that literature exists to form the normative consciousness - that is, to teach human beings their true nature, their dignity, and their place in the scheme of things. Such was the endeavor of Sophocles and Aristophanes, of Thucydides and Tacitus, of Plato and Cicero, of Hesiod and Vergil, of Dante and Shakespeare, of Dryden and Pope.

The very phrase "humane letters" implies that great literature is meant to teach us what it is to be fully human...."

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  • David Blue: Marcus Vitruvius: I mean he isn't calling for censorship literally, read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: I mean he isn't calling for censorship literally, but it read more
  • David Blue: Marcus Vitruvius: David Blue, I disagree with your interpretation of read more

September 16, 2009

9/11 Balanced Somehow

By Armed Liberal at 06:23

So tonight between chores, we watched a film,'Man on Wire,' and it was wonderful, and funny and moving.

And somehow, I can't explain how exactly, but in it - in the image of Phillip Petit kneeling on the wire between the Towers - something in me shifted. It is difficult to say this, but that image is just the antidote I need to neutralize the image of the Falling Man which I carry with me every year at about this time.

We are species of horror and brutality, to be sure.

But we are also a species of wonder and joy. And sometimes those happen at the exact same place.

If, like me, the image of the WTC curtainwall brings you directly to 9/11, watch this film. It won't make it go away - nothing ever will. But it will - forgive me for this - balance it.

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September 14, 2009

Cultural Outreach: The American South as an Honor Culture

By Grim at 02:28
Two things I have noticed in the last few days on the Left: the reaction to Rep. Wilson, and a continual repetition of this picture. It occurs to me, as a Southerner, that someone ought to explain to our coastal, urban friends what is going on. Ms. Maureen Dowd asserts that Rep. Wilson left out a disdainful word, "...boy," in his accusation that the President was a liar. In this, she expresses what she has understood of the South, which is that it hates blacks. There is rather a lot more to understand to get a clear picture. I'll try to put it in the briefest of terms, since this matter has filled several books. In short, the South is still -- outside of its larger cities, which are now just like everywhere else -- an honor culture.
This phrasing ["You Lie!"] is not a "breach of protocol," as the NYT would have it, but part of another protocol. Kenneth R. Greenberg, scholar of dueling (and baseball, oddly enough; he had some interesting things to say on the intersection of those two things in the post-war American South), noted:
Only certain kinds of insulting language and behavior led to duels. The central insult that could turn a disagreement into a duel involved a direct or indirect attack on someone's word -- the accusation that a man was a liar. To "give someone the lie," as it was called, had always been of great consequence among men of honor. As one early-seventeenth-century English writer noted, "It is reputed so great a shame to be accounted a lyer, that any other injury is canceled by giving the lie, and he that receiveth it standeth so charged in his honor and reputation, that he cannot disburden himself of that imputation, but by the striking of him that hath given it, or by chalenging him to the combat."
Now, another scholar named Greenberg -- I don't know if they are related -- wrote a piece on the Jews of Savannah, Georgia. I believe this is the piece, although you can't see the relevant part if you don't have access to an academic library. If memory serves, it recounts the story of how Jews in Savannah were accepted into the community early compared to the rest of the country, as proved by the fact that they were challenged to duels and fought them; for, as Kenneth Greenberg describes at length, gentlemen dueled only with equals. If they were challenged in the terms of honor, and allowed to fight as honorable men, then they were equals in fact.

Three breaths before Rep. Wilson shouted out that President Obama was a liar, President Obama had said that "prominent politicians" who spoke to concerns about potential end-of-life issues were spreading "a lie." Every Congressman present understood themselves to be a prominent politician; those who had expressed concerns about that issue, then, stood accused to their faces of lying. Rep. Wilson, of South Carolina, responded in anger and in kind.

It may be hard to understand if you aren't from the South, or a similar culture: but "giving the lie" in this case is the furthest thing from a mark of racial disrespect. It is a mark of accepted equality.

If a Southerner accepts you as an equal, and you call him a liar to his face, you will have to fight him. That is courtesy, not discourtesy: he wouldn't bother to fight you if he didn't respect you. He would snort at you, or strike you, but he would not respond to you in the language of honor.

Of course, these days we do not duel, and the only way such an encounter can terminate is with an apology. One was offered, and accepted -- the wager of battle, such as it is today, has been fulfilled according to the ancient forms. It may look strange to places that have not known such wagers in their lifetimes, but this sort of exchange was once the lifeblood of American politics. The South, as always, sustains.
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May 18, 2009

Star Trek, 2009

By Joe Katzman at 06:53

I doubted very much that the franchise had anything left in it. Hadn't seen the last few, didn't miss them.

The trailer intrigued me, though, and we had some time to kill. Didn't expect much.

I was wrong. Damned if they might not have re-invented the franchise with this one. Definitely an updated series for its time, might even be one of those weird foreshadowing movies in terms of resonance with outside events. Just not sure how they top it going forward.

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  • Joe Katzman: Gotta add... they cast Shaun of the Dead as Scotty. read more
  • David Blue: They don't need to top this going forward. If they read more
  • Glen Wishard: You know, you can't beat the command structure of the read more

April 20, 2009

Susan Boyle... and Paul Potts

By Joe Katzman at 00:09

I suspect most of you have seen this already. If not, do yourselves a favor. Visit this YouTube page, and watch an unemployed, 47 year old spinster walk on a Britain's equivalent of American Idol... and just blow the effing house down.

Thanks to the Internet, this was the viral equivalent of a tsunami. Follow-on TV appearances have been frequent, she may be about to record a duet with her singing idol Elaine Page (who was impressed), and it seems like she won't have to be looking for a job any time, well, ever again. The only shame in all of this is that she's been singing in her village, recording local charity albums (listen to "Cry Me A River" from 1998), rather than being on stage in London's East End for the last 20 or more years. Where she belongs. The good news is, some of the people in her village think that what you just saw on "Britain's Got Talent" wasn't even her best singing. Um, wow.

It's a great story. I love the fact that she sang a stage tune to do it. And I love it that someone with that level of talent was able to walk on, demonstrate it, and let that trump everything else. She didn't win a sympathy vote. She's just that good, and she'll rise as high as her talent lets her. To me, that's what it's all about.

Incidentally, 2007's winner was a guy named Paul Potts, now a multi-millionaire who's touring the world. He was a 41-year old mobile phone salesman, who remembers being beaten up at school every day until he was 18. That was excellent training for his subsequent dissertation on the problem of evil and suffering in a God-created world - and for his life's ambition, which was to become an opera singer....

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